Racing Queensland told it’s time to come up with an infrastructure plan that delivers long-term benefits

RACING Minister Grace Grace has reaffirmed her stance that better utilisation of the state’s racing assets is a key to a more sustainable future for racing in Queensland, as opposed to more money from government.

In the wake of last week’s tabled 2015-16 $20 million loss for Racing Queensland, she has backed the new RQ board to come up with an infrastructure plan that delivers long-term benefits and relieves financial pressure on the control body.

“(Racing Queensland) are not going to come cap in hand every year. That is not a sustainable industry,” she said.

When questioned on whether selling assets was part of the plan, Ms Grace offered an emphatic “No” and said the plan will be to use the existing assets more for commercial purposes, such as the BRC master plan.

The Ipswich and Gold Coast clubs have similar plans to the BRC if they can secure money to fund the projects from Racing Queensland.

“(Racing Queensland) has to find (other revenue streams). What is rich about the racing industry in Queensland at the moment? Real estate. They have a lot of it and there’s a lot of potential (to) make these clubs more sustainable and run on a commercial basis.


Racing Minister Grace Grace says Racing Queensland has to find other revenue streams. Picture: Tim Marsden


“It won’t be the case for every single racecourse, but I’m sure there will be quite a few that can take the pressure off RQ because they will become self-sustainable clubs.

“This is the type of thing (the new RQ board) will be looking at throughout their five-year strategic plan on how they think they can bring racing to a sustainable position.”

The Minister also confirmed the $21 million Country Racing Package — to be dispersed over four years — will start from 2016-17.

“The Tracking To Sustainability document included racing cuts, (but) the Government said we are not going to proceed with any of those,” Ms Grace said.

“The $21 million over four years is to ensure country racing is kept at the level it is now and $6 million of that is allocated for this financial year,” she said.

RQ chairman Steve Wilson said the past financial year would be looked back upon as “a crucial turning point, pivotal to setting a strong future for our industry”.

“Fiscal reform is imperative and this board and its leadership are committed to improvement,” he said.

“Racing across all codes needs more markets, more fans, more owners and a fresh approach to attract participants. It is imperative that racing reaches out and into the communities of our 132 racing clubs.”


Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Brisbane Courier Mail


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